BY: MADISON L’INSALATA

When we hear on the news “Sophia the humanoid robot gains citizenship in Saudi Arabia,” it doesn’t seem that far off. But, we shouldn’t write off all kinds of artificial intelligence before checking in to see what we might gain from it. Perhaps not all of it is as ominous as it may seem.

IBM Watson, the “artificial intelligence platform for business,” famously won Jeopardy in 2011,
but answering questions is not the limits of its capability. Watson, which was originally created
in 2010 to be a question answering computer system, can now ‘see,’ ‘talk,’ ‘taste,’ ‘read,’
‘understand,’ ‘reason,’ ‘interpret,’ ‘learn,’ and ‘recommend.’ While Google can only provide you
the answers to questions you can think of, Watson can help you discover a whole new well of
information you didn’t know that you didn’t know.

Typically, IBM Watson deals with corporate customers, selling them the software that will bring
their companies into the future. But, it’s your lucky day. Here is a step by step guide on how to
effectively use IBM Watson as an average non-techie millennial (and don’t worry, it won’t break
your bank- not even you, college students):

You’re applying for a job or internship. Consider using Watson’s Tone analyzer to help you
score the position. You can use this tool to check if you’re giving off the right vibe to your future
boss. Before you send that email, input your text to see if anything you wrote might come off as
too aggressive or desperate or, better yet, type their email into the analyzer and see if there is a
tone in there that you might have missed.

Okay, so now you’ve scored the interview, but you have no idea what to expect from this
person when you enter that room. Enter text from their emails, or other works they’ve published
(if applicable- think their LinkedIn page, articles they’ve written, published interviews) into
Watson’s Personality Insight software to check to see if they’re an introvert or an extrovert so
you know what kind of energy you need to bring into the room to highlight yourself in the best
possible light. (Tip: Watson can also analyze a twitter page so try inputting your favorite
celebrity or politician and have fun reading what it analyzes when you need to take a break from
prepping for your interview. When you put in Oprah’s twitter, Watson analyzes that “You are
emotionally aware: you are aware of your feelings and how to express them. You are empathetic:
you feel what others feel and are compassionate towards them. And you are altruistic: you feel
fulfilled when helping others, and will go out of your way to do so.” If that’s not Oprah, then
what is?!)

So, now you’ve got a good sense of their personality. You have to wow them with your
immense knowledge on their company or brand, but where to start? Watson’s Discovery
Service! You might be thinking, couldn’t I just use Google? But, as former Global Leader for
Cognitive Visioning and Strategy at IBM Watson Bjorn Austraat would call it, we all suffer from
a case of “unconscious incompetence,” or in other words, how can we know what we don’t
know? With the Discovery Service, you can type in any word (for example the name of a
business or company) and, according to the website, receive “top stories over the last two
months, top entities mentioned in those articles, trend of public sentiment in news, anomalous
periods of high press coverage, and trend of most commonly paired entities (co-mentions).” For
example, typing DACA into Watson will pull up names such as Trump, Pelosi, and Schumer as
well as tell me that the sentiment around most articles published co-mentioning Trump and
DACA are negative.

You scored the job, and your time there was valuable, but now you have decided you want to
start your own business, so you’ll need to build a website and put together a great team to make
your vision a success. Naturally, Watson can help with this, too. Using the Personality Insight
Service can be really useful in putting together a well rounded team. Let’s say you are starting a
business selling handmade jewelry and there are some questions you expect to receive often. Use
Watson’s Conversation Service, which will allow you to teach Watson capabilities surrounding
your jewelry business so you don’t have to manually answer hundreds of the same question.
Now, say you want to allow customers to post pictures with their jewelry that they love so much.
To make sure no unwanted pictures end up there, use Watson’s Visual Recognition Service,
which will allow you to filter out those photos so you can focus your time and energy on selling
your product.

Now you are likely wondering, ok, so how much will this cost me? The best part about all of
the services Watson provides is that there is a free lite version available to anyone, which
basically means you have about 5000 free usages per month, with about .2 of a cent per
additional usage or .4 of a cent if it is custom trained (like the chat box for instance). It’s a steal!!